NHL.com’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika spoke with Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano regarding the state of the Wings’ “rebuild on the fly”:
“Certainly I’m not in denial, and I would say to you Ken probably isn’t in denial either,” said senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, 75, part of the Red Wings’ front office since 1982. “We know where we’re at. We understand the state of our team. We are not surprised. We knew that it would eventually happen.”
The Red Wings made the playoffs for 25 straight seasons from 1990-91 to 2015-16. In that span, they won more games in the regular season (1,133) and playoffs (170) than anyone else. They won the Presidents’ Trophy six times, three times more than anyone else, and the Cup four times, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for most. But thanks to success and trades, their average first pick in the NHL Draft was No. 38. That made it hard to restock elite talent.
They tried to keep the playoff streak going as long as possible. But when they saw it was about to end last season, Holland sold at the NHL Trade Deadline and collected picks. He did the same this season. They have 11 picks in the 2018 NHL Draft, including seven in the first three rounds and two in the first. The plan is to try to remain competitive, while playing out some contracts, working in some younger players, collecting more picks and finding the next generation of stars in the draft.
“For the Red Wings to rebuild, we need a lot of kicks at the can,” Devellano said. “They certainly all don’t come through, but if you have 10 or 11 picks, if three come through real good for you, that’s what counts.”
Devellano declined to comment on the futures of Holland and coach Jeff Blashill in a wide-ranging interview with NHL.com, but Holland and Blashill are expected to return.